If nothing else, the right has persuaded me of this: We need to offer every West Bank Palestinian the option of voting in Israeli elections. If you refuse to allow them a country, for God’s sake, allow them the vote.
“I truly believe that our right to the Land of Israel holds true whether or not [there is a majority]. It is just as when Ben-Gurion established the state and there were 600,000 [Jewish] people facing one and a half to two million Arabs. Our right to the land of Israel was strong and present then. And it exists now as well. Therefore, the majority is not meant to be the deciding factor in our decision making.”
— Yigal Dilmoni, deputy CEO of the settlement movement’s Yesha Council
A senior Israeli settlement movement official, responding to statistics cited by the Israeli military indicating that Jews are now a minority in the Holy Land, stated this week that Jews have the right to rule Israel even if Arabs become a majority within the country.
The statement came hours after a furor erupted Monday in the Knesset, where figures cited by an army colonel showed that some three million Palestinians now live in the West Bank and another two million in the Gaza Strip.
Combined with the 1.8 million Arab citizens of Israel and the 300,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, the statistics meant that from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, Arabs may outnumber Israel’s 6.6 million Jews by as many as 600,000 people. . . .
“[The University’s decision] portrayed Dr. Salih in a manner that does not befit a respected academic with more than 15 years’ experience of chairing meetings in a balanced and scholarly way. We therefore would like to apologize to Dr. Salih for removing her as a chair, and we recognize that there was no evidence to support the view that she would not ensure a democratic debate, allowing all views to be expressed.”
— Cambridge University statement
The University of Cambridge has apologized to a Palestinian academic, whom it prevented from chairing a talk on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement in November last year.
Ruba Salih from the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) in London was stopped from moderating the event organized by pro-Palestinian activists and replaced by the university’s own choice, apparently over concerns about her neutrality.
The decision sparked anger among activists, who saw it as yet another example of a university attempting to shut down or disrupt debate on Israel and the BDS movement.
Hundreds of academics and students also signed an open letter condemning the university’s conduct.
“[We] strongly endorse Rep. Betty McCollum’s Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. In order for the US to play a constructive role in bringing about a comprehensive and sustainable end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must ensure we are not supporting the continued trauma inflicted on Palestinian youth entangled in the Israeli Military Detention system.”
— Churches for Middle East Peace
“Jewish tradition teaches that each and every single person has inherent dignity and worth and must be treated accordingly. This legislation recognizes and acts upon the inherent dignity and worth of Palestinian children and sends the message that the United States is committed to a future with freedom, safety, and equality for both Palestinians and Israelis.”
— Jewish Voices for Peace
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) today introduced legislation — the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act — to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children. The full text of the bill can be found here.
An estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system since 2000. Independent monitors such as Human Rights Watch have documented that these children are subject to abuse and, in some cases, torture — specifically citing the use of chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation on children between the ages of 11 and 15. In addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has found that Palestinian children are frequently held for extended periods without access to either their parents or attorneys.
“This legislation highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children and ensures that no American assistance to Israel supports human rights violations,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”
“It was very shocking because of the fact that it has nothing to do with the center. It was blatant that it was people who don’t know our center and have never been to our center writing these hateful comments. . . . It’s very clear that it’s hate speech. “It’s a group of people that don’t like the general idea of what we’re about and they’re being hateful for it.”
— Rania Mustafa, Executive Director of PACC
Hundreds of negative online messages flooded the Facebook pages of a community center in Clifton and a Rutgers student group over the weekend, in what appeared to be an organized effort targeting them for their support of Palestinian causes.
Some commenters accused the Palestinian American Community Center and the Rutgers chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine of being terrorists, terrorist sympathizers and liars — allegations the groups dismissed as politically motivated smears.
Rania Mustafa, executive director of the community center, said 400 posts were written on the center’s Facebook page over just a few hours on Sunday morning. The posts were attached to one-star reviews that drove the community center’s rating from a 4.8 out of five to a 1.8.
Most of the circumstances that made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ripe for resolution — or at least made the peace process attractive to both parties — have all but disappeared over the past decade.
A national movement requires genuine mass engagement in a political vision and a working project that cuts across boundaries of region, clan, and class, and a defined and acknowledged leadership with the legitimacy and representative standing that empowers it to act in its people’s name. This no longer holds for Fatah, the P.A., or the P.L.O.
Many Israelis were likely happy to read The New Yorker article titled “The End of This Road: The Decline of the Palestinian National Movement” earlier this month. The piece is of particular interest due to where it was published — the liberal elite’s most prominent magazine, which generally champions the Zionist Left and the American-backed two-state solution.
The identity of its authors is also noteworthy: Ahmad Samih Khalidi was involved in Israeli-Palestinian talks for years; Hussein Agha is a close associate of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was charged with holding secret talks with Yitzhak Molcho — Netanyahu’s chief envoy to the negotiations — and Obama’s former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross in the run-up to John Kerry’s peace initiative in 2013.
For the same reason we should also take the authors’ main argument, according to which Abbas is the last remaining Palestinian who can sign a final-status agreement, with a grain of salt. Yet the headline is not misleading, and it joins a long list of publications that rightfully declare the end of the Oslo peace process.
“To many of us our solidarity in this campaign is very personal because of our own experience under apartheid. We too, like the heroic Palestinians, were once called terrorists. We, like the Palestinians, were detained. We, like the Palestinians today, embarked on hunger strikes from our prison cells in protest against apartheid South Africa’s human rights violations. We also note the growing number of South African Jews who have joined this 24-hour fast and are in protest against Israel’s discriminatory policies. They remind us of our own white comrades who refused to let the apartheid government speak in their name.” — Nomaindia Mfeketo, South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-Operation
More than a dozen South African politicians and several anti-apartheid activists and public figures have completed a day-long fast to draw attention to the fight of hunger-striking Palestinians protesting conditions in Israeli prisons.
Cabinet members including deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy minister of international relations and co-operation Nomaindia Mfeketo — who herself was detained several times in the 1980s for anti-government activism — did not eat or drink for 24 hours from Sunday evening to Monday evening in solidarity with Palestinians who have now entered their second month of a hunger strike.
The “Freedom and Dignity” strike involving about 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in eight jails is over a range of issues, from access to telephones, lawyers and better medical care to ending solitary detention.
“The aim is to portray institutional racism in Israel as entirely normal, and make sure the apartheid reality here is irreversible. . . . It is part of the right’s magical thinking — they are in denial that there is an indigenous people here still living in their homeland. We are not about to disappear because of this law.” — Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament
New legislation to cement the definition of Israel as a state belonging exclusively to Jews around the world is a “declaration of war” on Palestinian citizens of Israel, the minority’s leaders warned this week.
The bill, which defines Israel as the “national home of the Jewish people,” passed its first vote in the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, after it received unanimous backing from a government committee on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to get the measure on to the statute books within 60 days.
Among its provisions, the legislation — popularly known as the Jewish Nation-State Bill — revokes the status of Arabic as an official language, even though it is the mother tongue of one in five citizens.
Israel’s population includes a large minority of 1.7 million Palestinians.
The legislation affirms that world Jewry has a “unique” right to national self-determination in Israel, and calls for the government to further strengthen ties to Jewish communities outside Israel.
It also increases the powers of so-called “admissions committees” that block Palestinian citizens from living in hundreds of communities that control most of Israel’s land.
[After being returned to prison,] Nael was sentenced to 30 months in prison for violating the conditions of his release. But when that term ended, he was not set free. Then, two months ago came the astounding news that he would have to complete his life-plus-18-years sentence, originally meted out in 1978.
The three photographs on the chest of drawers at the entrance to the living room tell the whole unbelievable story. The first shot, from 1978, shows a long-haired youth. The second, taken 15 years later, is a portrait of a prisoner between his two aged parents, both of whom lean on canes. It was taken the last time they met. The third is of an elderly man, at the time of his release from prison.
Thirty-nine years separate the first and third images, and Nael Barghouti, the man in all of the photos, spent most of that time incarcerated in an Israeli prison for murdering Mordechai Yakoel, a bus driver, in 1978. There is no longer-serving prisoner than Barghouti, and no crueler arbitrary treatment by the authorities than that demonstrated in his case. Continue reading “The Longest-Serving Palestinian Prisoner in Israel”
My question: Do your own donations to support education in the Israeli settlement of Beit El and President Trump’s trust in you put you in a unique position to stop Israel’s demolition of Palestinian communities?
David Friedman, esq.
Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Israel
Dear Mr. Friedman,
I am writing with urgency. I have asked my Senators Feinstein and Harris to forward my questions to you and request your reply. I am bringing these questions forward because although many speculate about what shape peace between Israelis and Palestinians will take in the future, I am most concerned with how you will assure a future for Palestinians who are being forced from their land right now.
The stakes were always high, but since January 2017, this situation is critical. These past two weeks, I have once again been urging everyone I know to write to their Senators and Representatives to urgently request that they call the Israeli Embassy and the U.S. State Department to prevent the imminent demolition of a West Bank Palestinian school and village, this time the village of Khan al Ahmar. Simultaneously we await word of the State of Israel’s position re the appeal by the Palestinian village of Susiya, calls are arriving from the village of Umm al Kheir about the Israeli Army’s demolition of water catchment cisterns in their area, and more.
“Disturbing the Peace” follows former enemy combatants — Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters — who have joined together to challenge the status quo. The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace. The film is incredibly inspiring, and is rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and 9.0 on IMDB. Following the film there will be a short Q&A session with Euphrates Founder, Janessa Gans Wilder, and an exchange student from Gaza, Amjad al-Shaer.
“Disturbing the Peace” is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take action to create new possibilities. “Disturbing the Peace” follows former enemy combatants — Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison — who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” the film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace. While based in the Middle East, “Disturbing the Peace” evokes universal themes relevant to us all and inspires us to become active participants in the creation of our world.
Please purchase your tickets online at http://gathr.us/screening/19346. Gathr is like Kickstarter for independent movie screenings, so we need at least 60 people to reserve tickets by March 30th in order for the screening to take place. You can also help us spreading the word with our Facebook event.
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